On Wednesday morning, prominent right-wing online personalities were rallying behind a fellow influencer after their account on X, formerly known as Twitter, was suddenly suspended.
The account belonged to Dom Lucre, described by BBC reporter Shayan Sardarizadeh as a “right-wing conspiracy theorist and QAnon follower” who is “one of the biggest conspiracy accounts on Twitter,” with posts that regularly received millions of impressions.
At the time, it was unclear exactly why the account was suspended.
According to Elon Musk, who was responding to another user looking for transparency on the suspension, the account was suspended for “posting child exploitation pictures associated with the criminal conviction of an Australian man in the Philippines.”
Musk included a link to a CNN article about Peter Scully, a man who was sentenced last year to 129 years in prison for “sexually abusing children as young as 18 months.” The owner of X also explained that Twitter’s CSE team flagged the photos, which caused the suspension.
However, Musk went further than just explaining why Lucre’s account was suspended. He also said that X would delete the posts and reinstate the account.
Most social media platforms have a zero tolerance policy for child sexual exploitation. In fact, X itself does too, under a policy that’s still listed on the website under the Twitter brand.
“We have a zero-tolerance child sexual exploitation policy on Twitter,” reads the policy page, before going on to reiterate this again. “Twitter has zero tolerance towards any material that features or promotes child sexual exploitation, one of the most serious violations of the Twitter Rules. This may include media, text, illustrated, or computer-generated images. Regardless of the intent, viewing, sharing, or linking to child sexual exploitation material contributes to the re-victimization of the depicted children.”
While the media posted by the influencer has been removed, numerous text interactions with the deleted posts from his followers are still on the platform. Some of those posts mention a child depicted in the photos as young as one and a half years old.
The influencer’s posts appear to be part of a thread discussing Scully and his crimes. However, regardless of intent, it is against X’s stated policies, and illegal under federal law in the U.S.
Since Musk’s takeover, the company now known as X and its owner himself has stated its prioritized removing CSE material on its platform. However, numerous reports over the past year have detailed how the company is failing to do just that.